December 17, 2021

All the New Restaurants That Opened In Cleveland In 2021

2021 has certainly seen its fair share of restaurant closings, brought about by the pandemic and other factors in the changing industry. But it hasn't been all bad news in the industry, and here in Cleveland, a bunch of awesome new spots have opened. It takes a brave soul to open a restaurant in a pandemic, even if we're (hopefully) near the ending stages of COVID-19, so these restauranteurs deserve extra credit for braving the elements. Here are 42 restaurants and other food establishments that have opened in the Greater Cleveland area this year.

Scroll down to view images
 Batuqui
17 East Orange St., Chagrin Falls
Following more than a year of construction, Carla Batista and Gustavo Nogueira are ready to unveil the second location of their popular Brazilian eatery. Like the original, which opened on Larchmere in 2015, “Batuqui on the Falls” has repurposed an elegant residential building — in this case, a stately brick Victorian a short stroll from Main Street. Batuqui Chagrin features the same popular dinner menu starring authentic Brazilian dishes like Feijoada and Moqueca Baiana and an ongoing selection of specials and cocktails created by the owners specifically for this location. 
Photo via Pure Illuminations

Batuqui

17 East Orange St., Chagrin Falls

Following more than a year of construction, Carla Batista and Gustavo Nogueira are ready to unveil the second location of their popular Brazilian eatery. Like the original, which opened on Larchmere in 2015, “Batuqui on the Falls” has repurposed an elegant residential building — in this case, a stately brick Victorian a short stroll from Main Street. Batuqui Chagrin features the same popular dinner menu starring authentic Brazilian dishes like Feijoada and Moqueca Baiana and an ongoing selection of specials and cocktails created by the owners specifically for this location.

Photo via Pure Illuminations
 Soba
1827 Coventry Rd., Cleveland Heights 
After working for years in a traditional hibachi-style Japanese restaurant, Jingbo Xiao had the brilliant idea to adapt the food to a fast-casual concept. He did just that when he opened his first Soba in Sandusky. He followed that up with a new location in the former Jimmy John’s space on Coventry. The fully customized “bowl-type” experience tops bases like fried rice, egg noodles and soba noodles with veggies and proteins like chicken, steak and shrimp capped off with sauces such as teriyaki, garlic butter and yum-yum.
Photo via Scene Archives

Soba

1827 Coventry Rd., Cleveland Heights

After working for years in a traditional hibachi-style Japanese restaurant, Jingbo Xiao had the brilliant idea to adapt the food to a fast-casual concept. He did just that when he opened his first Soba in Sandusky. He followed that up with a new location in the former Jimmy John’s space on Coventry. The fully customized “bowl-type” experience tops bases like fried rice, egg noodles and soba noodles with veggies and proteins like chicken, steak and shrimp capped off with sauces such as teriyaki, garlic butter and yum-yum.

Photo via Scene Archives
 Boney Fingers BBQ
1800 Euclid Ave., Cleveland
After nearly five years at the historic Cleveland Arcade, Boney Fingers BBQ relocated to a larger space up the road. The new location is in the former Pizza Pan spot near the Comfort Inn Downtown. “The Arcade was always going to be our starting point: Get our name out there, get our product out there,” Huff says. “We had a good run there, but it was time to move.” Boney Fingers, known for its slow-smoked Texas-style barbecue, is upgrading from 325 square feet to 1,800 square feet. It’s not “just barbecue” of course. Huff smokes his beef brisket for 15 hours, alongside pork butt and baby back ribs. Those items are sold by weight or in sandwiches, while also appearing in tacos, brisket cheesesteaks and Polish Boys. 
Photo via Scene Archives

Boney Fingers BBQ

1800 Euclid Ave., Cleveland

After nearly five years at the historic Cleveland Arcade, Boney Fingers BBQ relocated to a larger space up the road. The new location is in the former Pizza Pan spot near the Comfort Inn Downtown. “The Arcade was always going to be our starting point: Get our name out there, get our product out there,” Huff says. “We had a good run there, but it was time to move.” Boney Fingers, known for its slow-smoked Texas-style barbecue, is upgrading from 325 square feet to 1,800 square feet. It’s not “just barbecue” of course. Huff smokes his beef brisket for 15 hours, alongside pork butt and baby back ribs. Those items are sold by weight or in sandwiches, while also appearing in tacos, brisket cheesesteaks and Polish Boys.

Photo via Scene Archives
 Acqua Di Luca
500 West St. Clair Ave., Cleveland
For those looking for a restaurant to celebrate life’s big moments, thankfully, there’s Acqua di Luca, the latest restaurant from the husband-and-wife team behind Luca Italian Cuisine and Luca West. This shimmering downtown establishment, which for more than 15 years was home to XO Steaks, has more buzz than an angry beehive. In true “special-occasion restaurant” form, the menu is unabashedly extravagant. The walk-in coolers are filled to the brim with shellfish, fin fish, veal, filet mignon, Kobe beef and menacing tomahawk chops. Those luxe foodstuffs are gilded with saffron, brown butter, Nebbiolo wine reductions and freshly shaved truffles. Many consider this part of town hallowed ground with respect to Cleveland’s dining renaissance. Now, 30 years later, Lola and Luca Sema are picking up the mantle by bucking trends, taking risks and doing their best to keep diners excited and well fed despite very difficult circumstances. 
Photo by Douglas Trattner

Acqua Di Luca

500 West St. Clair Ave., Cleveland

For those looking for a restaurant to celebrate life’s big moments, thankfully, there’s Acqua di Luca, the latest restaurant from the husband-and-wife team behind Luca Italian Cuisine and Luca West. This shimmering downtown establishment, which for more than 15 years was home to XO Steaks, has more buzz than an angry beehive. In true “special-occasion restaurant” form, the menu is unabashedly extravagant. The walk-in coolers are filled to the brim with shellfish, fin fish, veal, filet mignon, Kobe beef and menacing tomahawk chops. Those luxe foodstuffs are gilded with saffron, brown butter, Nebbiolo wine reductions and freshly shaved truffles. Many consider this part of town hallowed ground with respect to Cleveland’s dining renaissance. Now, 30 years later, Lola and Luca Sema are picking up the mantle by bucking trends, taking risks and doing their best to keep diners excited and well fed despite very difficult circumstances.

Photo by Douglas Trattner
 El Arepazo Latin Grill
14725 Detroit Ave., Lakewood
El Arepazo Latino, the new Lakewood venture from the owner of El Arepazo y Pupuseria in Fairview Park, is now open in the former Burgers 2 Beer space at the corner of Warren and Detroit. The new restaurant has an extensive menu of Latin American cuisine including tostadas, torta, tacos, burritos, enchiladas, arepas and much more.
Photo via Arepazo Latino and Bar/Facebook

El Arepazo Latin Grill

14725 Detroit Ave., Lakewood

El Arepazo Latino, the new Lakewood venture from the owner of El Arepazo y Pupuseria in Fairview Park, is now open in the former Burgers 2 Beer space at the corner of Warren and Detroit. The new restaurant has an extensive menu of Latin American cuisine including tostadas, torta, tacos, burritos, enchiladas, arepas and much more.

Photo via Arepazo Latino and Bar/Facebook
Cloak and Dagger
2399 West 11th St., Cleveland
This bookish cocktail lounge has nicely settled in at the revolving-door space in Tremont that has been home to many short-lived restaurants. Billed as a neighborhood craft cocktail bar, the library-themed salon boasts a book-like menu filled with libations described with tasting notes like herbal, floral, smoky and spicy. The beverages are buoyed by an all-vegan roster of bar bites like fries, “pork” rinds, BBQ “chicken” skewers and banh mi sammies. 
Photo via Scene Archives

Cloak and Dagger

2399 West 11th St., Cleveland

This bookish cocktail lounge has nicely settled in at the revolving-door space in Tremont that has been home to many short-lived restaurants. Billed as a neighborhood craft cocktail bar, the library-themed salon boasts a book-like menu filled with libations described with tasting notes like herbal, floral, smoky and spicy. The beverages are buoyed by an all-vegan roster of bar bites like fries, “pork” rinds, BBQ “chicken” skewers and banh mi sammies.

Photo via Scene Archives
 Kindred Spirit Kitchen
3396 Tuttle Rd., Shaker Heights
Since taking over the former Sawyer’s space at Van Aken District, the partners at Forward Hospitality have been busy undoing a lot of the work that came before them, explains CEO Michael Schwartz. Kindred Spirit, which opened early 2021, does so as a hipper, more approachable restaurant better suited to the neighborhood just outside its doors, states its owners. The restaurant describes the cuisine as “West Coast energy with influence from the Mediterranean and around the globe.” Think fresh, healthy and flavorful, with a heavy focus on greens, grains, veggies, fish and a handful of meats. 
Photo via Scene Archives

Kindred Spirit Kitchen

3396 Tuttle Rd., Shaker Heights

Since taking over the former Sawyer’s space at Van Aken District, the partners at Forward Hospitality have been busy undoing a lot of the work that came before them, explains CEO Michael Schwartz. Kindred Spirit, which opened early 2021, does so as a hipper, more approachable restaurant better suited to the neighborhood just outside its doors, states its owners. The restaurant describes the cuisine as “West Coast energy with influence from the Mediterranean and around the globe.” Think fresh, healthy and flavorful, with a heavy focus on greens, grains, veggies, fish and a handful of meats.

Photo via Scene Archives
 City Pop Sushi
1816 East 12th St., Cleveland
This visually appealing eatery downtown is a candy-colored homage to Japanese pop culture. Original artwork is joined by an arcade game, TVs streaming city pop music videos, and a short roster of contemporary sushi rolls. Rolls, both grab-and-go and made-to-order, feature fully cooked items like bacon, steak and shrimp. They are served with dipping sauces like wasabi mayo and yum-yum.
Photo via Scene Archives

City Pop Sushi

1816 East 12th St., Cleveland

This visually appealing eatery downtown is a candy-colored homage to Japanese pop culture. Original artwork is joined by an arcade game, TVs streaming city pop music videos, and a short roster of contemporary sushi rolls. Rolls, both grab-and-go and made-to-order, feature fully cooked items like bacon, steak and shrimp. They are served with dipping sauces like wasabi mayo and yum-yum.

Photo via Scene Archives
 Chicken Ranch
13892 Cedar Rd., University Heights 
Anthony Zappola closed the Rice Shop last Thanksgiving, but the University Heights space quickly transitioned to Chicken Ranch. Chef Demetrios Atheneos, formerly of Forage Public House, Oak Barrel and Bold, opened this quick-serve fried chicken spot in early December. It’s home to one of the best chicken sandwiches in town, but also ribs, shrimp, salads and sides. A great assortment of sauces adds to the fun.
Photo via Scene Archives

Chicken Ranch

13892 Cedar Rd., University Heights

Anthony Zappola closed the Rice Shop last Thanksgiving, but the University Heights space quickly transitioned to Chicken Ranch. Chef Demetrios Atheneos, formerly of Forage Public House, Oak Barrel and Bold, opened this quick-serve fried chicken spot in early December. It’s home to one of the best chicken sandwiches in town, but also ribs, shrimp, salads and sides. A great assortment of sauces adds to the fun.

Photo via Scene Archives
 The Sleepy Rooster
5210 Chillicothe Rd., Chagrin Falls
Following nine months of work, the majority of which was completed by family, Craig and Sarah Fitzgerald recently opened The Sleepy Rooster in Chagrin Falls. The attractive diner is open for breakfast and lunch Tuesday through Sunday. Biscuit fans will appreciate the fresh-baked ones served here. Some breakfast items, like a section of toasts topped with arrangements like avocado and sea salt, chorizo and goat cheese, and smoked salmon, dill cream cheese and onion, are available all day. The arrival of lunchtime ushers in sandwiches like a griddled PB&J, fried bologna and onion, and a BLT with pork belly. 
Photo via Scene Archives

The Sleepy Rooster

5210 Chillicothe Rd., Chagrin Falls

Following nine months of work, the majority of which was completed by family, Craig and Sarah Fitzgerald recently opened The Sleepy Rooster in Chagrin Falls. The attractive diner is open for breakfast and lunch Tuesday through Sunday. Biscuit fans will appreciate the fresh-baked ones served here. Some breakfast items, like a section of toasts topped with arrangements like avocado and sea salt, chorizo and goat cheese, and smoked salmon, dill cream cheese and onion, are available all day. The arrival of lunchtime ushers in sandwiches like a griddled PB&J, fried bologna and onion, and a BLT with pork belly.

Photo via Scene Archives